OneCity volunteers plotted to fabricate rumours to destroy opponents, chat logs show

By Rohana Rezel

I have obtained chat logs that show OneCity volunteers plotting to destroy their opponents by fabricating damaging rumours – including rumours about pedophilia.

Their targets involve affordable housing advocates, academics, journalists, and lawyers among others. And what they intend to do to us is jaw dropping.

For example, here’s what they have in store for me:

“Maybe we give him a taste of his own medicine and openly wonder why he’s associating on Twitter with possible pedophiles?” asks Tim Ell, who’s been door knocking with OneCity’s incumbent Vancouver City Councillor Christine Boyle during the campaign.

“Nope,” says Sushil Tailor, a software engineer with Microsoft. “I would be very unhappy with that sort of posting.”

“So then we’re doing it,” says Tim Ell.

“But there are better ways to fuck with people like Rezel,” says Tailor. “Ways that frustrate him, rather than needlessly slanders him.”

Mining Association of BC director Peter Andreason and Abundant Housing Vancouver (AHV) director Jennifer Bradshaw then discuss another rumour, which I will not be disclosing here following legal advice.

“Someone should just create an anon that spews nonstop racist misogynist stuff and then pin it on Rezel,” an official Twitter account for a not-for-profit says in the group chat. “True or not, the sock puppet accusations are beginning to stick.”

I’m not revealing the name of the not-for-profit organization because the organization represents a cause I strongly believe in.

The participants of of the group chat include AHV directors Peter Waldkirch, a lawyer and OneCity donor, and Owen Brady, a OneCity volunteer.

When I ran for Vancouver City Council in 2018, a blogger asked voters to reject me on the grounds that “you can take a save out of the jungle but you can’t take the jungle out of a savage”.

It later emerged that Ken Paquette – a director of the not-for-profit Kettle Society and a vocal YIMBY advocate – had privately told the blogger to “make it sound less racist”.

Many directors and founders of Abundant Housing Vancouver also shared the blog post.

They later claimed that it was a conspiracy by the group’s opponents to make the group look bad.

“Just to get it off my chest, I’m 100% now this was indeed a false flag,” AHV director Owen Brady tweeted. “If you’re not leaning this way already, you might want to assess your own biases.”

Unsurprisingly, Ken Paquette is in the group that appears to be set up to discuss ways to harass opponents.

Members of the group are also targeting my friend and fellow housing advocate Justin Fung.

This is Justin’s response to what they have to say:

I’m deeply disturbed by the culturally illiterate insinuation made by Tim Ell, a vocal supporter of OneCity and volunteer on city councillor Christine Boyle’s campaign. He claims that I was hiding behind my Chinese name and the profile image of a murdered Asian-American woman. Seeing Simu Liu succeed as a Chinese-Canadian gave me a reason to celebrate and accept my own Chinese name despite it being something that had always been used to “other” me in the past. Michelle Go was pushed off a New York City subway platform into the path of an oncoming train. After hearing story after story of anti-Asian violence, Michelle’s murder broke me – it hit way too close to home given it could have been my wife, sister, daughter or any number of people I care deeply about in my life. Tim’s comments reflect his attempt to culturally erase me and my experiences of being a racialized Canadian. 

It is also disappointing to see an oil and gas lobbyist in the chat suggest the countless hours of activism we did alongside long-time Chinatown residents to oppose 105 Keefer as having further harmed their community over the past few years. Chinatown has seen how increasing gentrification has driven up rents for local businesses, slowly erasing away a racialized community with deep historical roots. I stood alongside Chinatown grannies to fight against more luxury condos in Chinatown because they have seen their community become ground zero for a homelessness crisis. A crisis created by the greed of real estate developers who employed dozens of lobbyists stacking public hearings with friendly speakers. 

This YIMBY group fails to recognize that the Woodwards condo developments in the early 2010s pushed much of the DTES further eastward into Chinatown. They fail to realize that land to the north and east of Chinatown have been bought up with SROs being converted to yuppie bachelor studios. To blame some of the people who have had to endure some of the worst of this homelessness and drug crisis is victim-shaming and frankly self-serving. But perhaps I should have expected nothing less from supposed activists in a group that can’t think critically and recognize that condo developers are not in the business of creating affordable housing solutions.

Other individuals identified as enemies in the group chat include the academic Prof Patrick Condon, journalists Sam Cooper, Ian Young, Terry Glavin, Jeremy Nuttall, and Douglas Todd.

You can reach Rohana Rezel at [email protected] You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook and Github.